Meet Jana: Jewish Doctor of the Week

Jana Bregman recently moved to DC for her fellowship and is looking to make some awesome new friends – preferably those who enjoy early morning runs, cross-country bike rides, and handmade knitted sweaters as gifts. Read on!

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janaAllie: What brought you to DC?

Jana: I’m originally from Nashville and went to Vanderbilt for both undergrad and medical school. I recently moved to DC after my residency in Baltimore for my fellowship at Children’s National in pediatric ophthalmology, aka medical and surgical eye-care for little kids. 

Allie: What did you like about pediatric ophthalmology? 

Jana: What’s cuter than a tiny kid in glasses?! I chose pediatrics because within ophthalmology it’s an underserved field, and one that provides opportunity to make a lifelong impact on people by helping to preserve their eyesight from a young age.

Allie: What are the biggest differences between living in Nashville versus DC?

Jana: When I was growing up in Nashville, there were way more differences than there are today. Back then, Nashville was still quintessential south with a slower pace of life. Now it’s more of a sprawling, cosmopolitan city. I think that the Jewish community in DC is better and it seems like there are more young people walking around here.

Allie: Describe your dream DC day from start to finish?

Jana: I would get up early before it gets too hot and go for a run or bike ride in Rock Creek Park. After that, I’d host brunch for some friends, and then take a nap. Later in the afternoon, I’d let out the nerd in me by knitting while watching a movie. Then, I’d go to the pool for a while before heading to a local brewery. After some beers, I’d go out to dinner with friends, followed by some live music. I’d go to sleep by 10 o’clock.

Allie: Is knitting one of your favorite pastimes?

Jana: Yeah, I’ve been knitting since I was in high school. I knit sweaters, socks, pretty much anything. I most recently knit a sweater vest for my brother. I find it really relaxing, especially because I’m not very good at just sitting still. I also like the idea of taking a ball of nothing and turning it into something really pretty. It makes great presents for people!

Allie: What’s your go-to ways to relax at the end of a long work day?

Jana: Running or swimming. I love just reading a book and drinking a beer outside, preferably while sitting by a pool. Banneker Pool is probably one of my favorite places in DC so far. 

jana

Allie: Do you have a favorite Jewish holiday?

Jana: Shabbat. I have so many fond memories around it – Shabbat was always a priority for my family when I was growing up. My mom is a really good cook and would make delicious vegetarian meals. 

Allie: What’s at the top of your bucket list at the moment?

Jana: I’d love to go to Acadia National Park in Maine, and break 20 minutes in a 5K.

Allie: What is something people might be surprised to know about you?

Jana: I’ve biked across the country. When I graduated from high school, I took a year off before college. I spent the first part of that year with an organization called Bike and Build – we biked and built houses with Habitat for Humanity. It was a two month long trip – we started in Jacksonville, Florida and ended in San Francisco, California. We would bike between 80-100 miles everyday. I sported the proudest farmers tan of my life 🙂 

Allie: Do you have a Jewish role model?

Jana: My cantor growing up. He is someone who truly acts out what it means to be Jewish. He connects with people on a very personal level, he’s there when you need him during both happy and sad times, and always has the right reference to Jewish teachings for the moment.

Allie: Complete the sentence: When Jews of DC Gather…

Jana: Friendships are made!

jana

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Jordan: Jewish Politician of the Week!

This musical theater lover, soccer-playing, “Jane the Virgin” fan is running for DC Council. Upgrade from his past job as a bar-mitzvah dancer? Read on to get to know Jordan Grossman.

jordan

 

Allie: What led you to DC?

Jordan: I’m the 5th generation in my family to live here! My great-great grandparents and great grandparents immigrated to DC in the early 1900’s. My great-great grandpa was a kosher butcher in Georgetown, my great grandma had a grocery store called Sherman’s Market, and my grandpa had a store on H Street. I also work in politics and government, which is part of why I live here. 

Allie: What interests you about working in politics?

Jordan: I’m a true believer that if you do it right, the government can make people’s lives better. Growing up, I learned all about the importance of participating in public life and strengthening our community through tikkun olam (repairing the world). So it wasn’t an accident that I came to care about all of these things. My dream is to work on things that make services easier to access, and make life better for my neighbors.

Allie: What was your first segue into government?

Jordan: I did internships in DC while I was in college. My first full-time job was as a field organizer for Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008. I spent most of my time in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and had an extraordinary experience. 

jordan obama

Allie: I hear that you’re now running for DC Council. What exactly is the DC Council?

Jordan: The DC Council is the legislative branch of the DC government and is made up of 13 members – eight are elected from specific wards and five are elected city-wide. I’m running to represent Ward 2, which includes neighborhoods like Chinatown, Logan Circle, Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, and Georgetown. The Council votes on things like affordable housing, child care, healthcare, safety, and really anything that affects you in your day-to-day life in the city. In DC – it’s a unique situation because technically everything the Council passes, Congress can reverse. This is one of the main reasons I think DC should be a state – we deserve the right to govern ourselves and to have full representation in Congress. 

Allie: Do you have a job outside of campaigning? 

Jordan: Yes, I work for a nonprofit called Co-Equal. We help members of Congress with accountability, oversight, and policy research. 

Allie: Tell me about your dream DC day.

Jordan: I’d start the day at Buttercream Bake Shop, my favorite place in my neighborhood. My wife and I love walking and being outside. So, we would probably walk to the National Mall or to Rock Creek Park. We’ll play tourist and go to a cool museum, and then – if it was a special occasion – have a meal at Rose’s Luxury. After, I’d love to go to a show at The Kennedy Center – I’m a huge musical theater fan. 

Allie: What’s your favorite musical? 

Jordan: The Last Five Years

Allie: What do you do to relax? 

Jordan: I love playing soccer with District Sports here in DC, and watching Netflix with my wife. Jane the Virgin is one of our favorites.

Allie: What is at the top of your travel bucket list?

Jordan: I’d love to go to China and Japan. 

Allie: Do you have a piece of Jewish wisdom that inspires you?

Jordan: It comes from my Jewish grandmother, who grew up here in DC. She always says, sometimes in Yiddish, “if you give a smile, you get a smile.” 

Allie: What is something people might be surprised to know about you?

Jordan: In high school I was a part-time bar mitzvah dancer. So I wore sequin shirts and danced to Motown medleys. 

Allie: What is your favorite Jewish food?

Jordan: I’m a huge fan of Call Your Mother. An everything bagel with lox from there makes it a very good morning. I can’t wait to go to their second location in Georgetown when it opens! 

Allie: Complete the sentence! When Jews of DC gather…

Jordan: They have a great time! 

jordan

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Protecting The Asset

traylor

Have you ever read a book and had a feeling it would really change your life? Well, last week, I finished “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown, and had that exact feeling. In exploring how to live according to our essential values, I was really struck with how McKeown described strategies for taking care of ourselves: “protecting the asset.”  

McKeown’s argument, which I agree with, is that in order to be at our very best, we have to protect and take care of our body, mind, and spirit. Taking care of ourselves is at the core of success.  

In this week’s Torah portion, Va-et’chanan, we receive a similar instruction from Moses:

“But take utmost care and watch yourselves scrupulously, so that you do not forget the things that you saw with your own eyes and so that they do not fade from your mind as long as you live.” – Deuteronomy 4:9

This portion comes as the Israelites are close to entering the Promised Land and later on, we read two key passages of Judaism – the Ten Commandments and the Sh’ma. In other words, right before laying down some of the most important words in Judaism, what does Moses tell the Israelites to do? Practice self-care. Because we can only succeed and thrive when we take care of ourselves. 

Fast forward to 2019, we would all benefit if we took on this mentality. Isn’t it ironic that in some of our most stressful moments – moving apartments, starting a new job, navigating family challenges – that we take care of ourselves the least? Those tough moments are exactly when we need to actually sleep, spend time outside, journal, exercise, or whatever else brings us joy. We have to protect our most valuable asset in life – ourselves. 

 

evan

About the AuthorEvan Traylor, originally from Oklahoma City, currently works at the Union for Reform Judaism and is an aspiring rabbi. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 2016 studying political science and Jewish studies. Evan loves reading, traveling, exploring DC, and cheering on the KU Jayhawks.

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

DID JEW KNOW: There’s Another Jewish Holiday This Weekend?

ilana

It’s not what you’re thinking. There’s no joyous family gathering nor tons of delicious food. 

It’s a fast day. 

It’s a time to mourn. 

It’s the saddest day of the Jewish year. 

And no, it’s not Yom Kippur (which, while serious, is meant to be uplifting). 

It’s called Tisha B’Av, and this Saturday night through Sunday (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av) Jews around the world will be marking this day.

Tisha B’Av is a day that Jewish tradition marks as a time to remember and mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, the ancient epicenters of Jewish life. The Temples were destroyed first in 586 BCE and then again in 70 CE. Since then, Tisha B’Av has become a most inauspicious day marking other large-scale tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people; the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290 and again from Spain in 1492, the start of WWI, whose unresolved ending built up to WWII and the Holocaust, and the list goes on. 

Over time, Tisha B’Av has become a symbolic container holding centuries of Jewish history’s darkest moments, and it is traditionally observed by fasting and reading from the book of Lamentations (a biblical book composed after the destruction of the First Temple) while sitting on the floor like mourners. 

Tisha B’Av comes at the height of summer – just when we’re well-practiced in the art of leisure, sitting by our friends’ rooftop pools (I’ve learned that these are good friends to have in DC), or spending time at the beach. In the midst of all this fun – who wants to pause for a day of mourning, let alone fasting? 

As a kid, I dreaded this day. I was at Jewish summer camp when this “holiday” arrived, and with it came a day without swimming, field trips, games, or really anything other than watching Holocaust movies and talking about the never ending cycle of anti-semitism. On top of this, I was not provided any time or space for emotional preparation or reflection. After Tisha B’Av, we’d resume business as usual, so it never quite made sense to me as a summer holiday. 

Furthermore, Tisha B’Av is about commemorating events that are long gone (the Holocaust itself actually has its own memorial day), so it can be hard to feel a genuine sense of loss around them. 

And yet, I think it’s because – rather than in spite of – this emotional disconnect that Tisha B’Av is so vital for each of us to commemorate today. Tisha B’Av is about accepting that significant loss and grief can disrupt our lives and the lives of those around us – no matter what else is going on. It tells us that despite how utterly terrible grief feels, the only way out of it is through it. Unfortunately, we live in a society that doesn’t like to see people grieve. Oftentimes, people, even our closest friends, don’t know how to respond to our deepest sorrow and pain. They may try to keep it light or remind us that we’re going to be okay, even though we are not ready for a positive mood change just yet. 

In this vein, the author of Lamentations comes to tell us that expressions of grief are an essential and healthy part of the healing process. 

“I cry…tears fall from my eyes: far from me is any comforter who might revive my spirit.”

The very first word of the book, Eicha (which is the Hebrew name of the book), is a question, “How?” as in, “How could this have happened?!” Sometimes, before we get to make meaning out of our loss or figure out what’s next, we can only sit in the shock that has befallen us. We should take time to let our minds consider the unanswerable questions, rather than ask someone for the answers. Reading Lamentations along with other people, which is how Jewish communities read it, may be just what we need to resensitize ourselves to expressions of grief as well as all the anger and fear that can come with it. In this act, we give ourselves permission to feel distraught and/ to support those around us who are in pain as well. 

In addition to asking us to tune into our individualized expressions of grief, Tisha B’Av is a day for grieving major communal losses. While the ancient Temples in Jerusalem were sites for religious devotion, their destruction came via warfare. This brought about the loss of many lives and led to the dispersion of the Jewish people as refugees around the world. Ultimately, it marked the end of their sovereignty and way of life as they knew it then.

But even more than this, the rabbis of Jewish tradition say that the Temples were destroyed because of both external military defeat and a breakdown of internal values that led people to distrust and disrespect one another. Although an external enemy physically destroyed the edifices of Jewish life, they were only able to do so because of a community structure that was already tearing at the seams. 

During a major societal breakdown – such as the destruction of these ancient Temples or the political division of a country like America – it’s not clear how constructive responses will fill the void or when healing will begin. Communal losses are scary, yet we, like those of the past who ultimately reimagined a new Jewish way of life without the Temples, can find the courage to embrace the fears that come with major losses. If we permanently desensitize ourselves to painful feelings because we are tired, frightened, or overwhelmed, we’ll never be able to eventually move forward.

Imagine what it might look like then, for communities, or even a whole society, to set aside a day to bravely mourn the loss of its values and shared commitments. Although we do have Memorial Day in America, this is not usually a day spent in serious introspection about how a people can unite for a greater social good.

By the end of Lamentations, we pray for renewal and change,

“Renew our days as of old!”

Even if we are feeling utterly hopeless in the moment, we pay homage to the fact that we have before, and one day, we will feel hope again. We set aside a day to grieve the patterns of major life-shattering events, together, and see what responses we can generate with time.

This year, I propose that we reclaim Tisha B’Av for what it can be. 

We can read and discuss ancient and modern-day Lamentations with family and friends, such as: Lamentations for the earth, Lamentations for the breakup of immigrant families, or Lamentations for acts of gun violence. We can also join an organized Jewish communal event for a reading, a prayer service or even a protest to mark this day for our losses, our sadness, and our righteous anger. 

Although it may take some commitment to pause from our regular summer weekend plans, we can at least try to courageously lean into the pain of this holiday. If we can, we just may become more open, honest, and ready to take on the pain of our lives, and the pain of our world.

 

ilana

About the author: Rabbi Ilana Zietman is GatherDC’s Community Rabbi. She loves meeting new people and creating real and meaningful connections with them. When Rabbi Ilana isn’t officially Gathering, she can be found cooking in her kitchen, practicing yoga, going on hikes, desperately searching for good pizza in DC (seriously, help her find some!) and watching a lot of tv.

 

 


 

 

 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Shira: Jewish Travel Lover of the Week

shira

Allie: Tell me how you ended up in DC.

Shira: I like to base my life choices on the show I’m binge watching at the time. During finals my senior year of college, I was watching “The West Wing. I thought every day in DC would have an invigorating Toby-Sam argument. Spoiler alert: After working as a policy fellow in DC for a few years, I got into “Mad Men” and moved on to an ad agency.

Allie: Describe your dream day in DC from start to finish.

Shira: I’d embrace my inner “basic-ness” for a day: I’d start with an early morning hike, drink just the right amount of coffee to feel cool with my friends but not enough to start up my Ashkenazi stomach, skip brunch (that’s my one non-basic move), and get free samples at the farmer’s market. After such a stressful morning, I’d need to take a load off at a local beer garden. Dacha, anyone?

Allie: What outdoor adventures have you loved the most?

Shira: Hiking Old Rag is a classic, and Old Town Alexandria is fun when I’m not there for work. Outside of the DC-area, I try to go on two big trips every year. One of last year’s trips was the Grand Canyon. Next week, I’ll be traipsing my way through Sweden and England with my high school frienemy Laurie Hunt (shout out). Boys – don’t worry if you see me disappear from the JSwipe scene. My distance filter is only 1,000 miles, but I’ll be back in two weeks.

shira

Allie: What has been your favorite trip?

Shira: Peru. I’m a history nerd, so I loved going to Machu Picchu and learning about the earliest religions. I also loved hiking Lake 22 outside of Seattle.

Allie: What do you love most about traveling?

Shira: The fact that I am traveling. But really, I just love learning about history and language, and I love seeing how others live and exploring the beautiful views while hiking. I especially love visiting the Jewish communities for a Friday night dinner when I’m abroad.

Allie: Where do you most want to travel to next?

Shira: My new client project might be taking me to Bethesda, and I hear it’s hopping there. Other than that, I’m hoping to plan a trip to Spain and Portugal soon, as well as go hiking in Switzerland one day.

Allie: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Shira: I got an A+ in my hip hop dance class in college. And I’m really good at Super Smash Bros.

Allie: What is at the top of your DC bucket list? 

Shira: Take an improv class. I’ve read Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Mindy Kaling’s books, so I think I’m ready.

Allie: What is your favorite Jewish holiday?

Shira: Sukkot; specifically in the Atlanta weather with my mom’s butternut squash pie. October 2019: You’re all invited.

Allie: Complete the sentence: when Jews of DC gather…

Shira: They refuse to acknowledge their previous conversations on JSwipe.

shira

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Josef: Jewish Community Engagement Director of the Week!

Attention Jewish DC: The one-and-only Josef Palermo has made his way onto the GatherDC team, and we COULD NOT BE MORE THRILLED. All caps are 100% necessary to express our uncontainable excitement.

If you don’t know Josef, read on. If you do know Josef, read on and you might learn something new. Either way, email Josef to welcome him to the team or grab coffee. Okay enough with this intro, onto the interview…

Allie: What brought you to DC? 

Josef: I’ve been in DC for about 11 years – I came here right after undergraduate as a part of a fellowship with Greenpeace. I started to carve out a career path for myself in activism and community organizing because, like so many young people, I wanted to have some kind of positive impact on the world. I had a 6-month stint in San Francisco, but kept my place in DC so I could come back. DC really feels like home! 

Allie: Tell me more about your interest in activism.

Josef: I really started to dive into activism in college, organizing my college campus community on issues related to human rights and genocide prevention and awareness.

From there, I just kept going! I’m from Florida, so I decided to intern for a Florida state senator, then in 2008, I worked for a presidential campaign. After that, I went back to Florida, and just a few months later I was in DC advocating for the environment at Greenpeace. 

Allie: Did you think about going into politics? 

Josef: Yes, but I ultimately found it wasn’t for me. My interests are more in advocating for specific issues and causes that I believe in. 

Allie: What ultimately led you to find your career path as a Jewish professional?

Josef: I was hired to run GLOE, the Kurlander Program for GLBTQ Outreach and Engagement at the EDCJCC. It was the first, and for a long time, only, full-time LGBTQ outreach program at any JCC. This position really spoke to where I was in my life, and my passion for working with the community at the intersection of LGBTQ and Jewish identity.

I recently started at Gather as the 30s Community Engagement Director, and am excited to continue working in a space that speaks to where I am in my life. 

Allie: What are you most looking forward to in your role at Gather?

Josef: I’m excited to connect with other folks in their 30’s who are still connecting to their Jewish journeys and looking for more meaningful engagement with those journeys. Often in your 30s, you focus your time differently and may search for new ways to engage in Jewish life. I’m very excited to innovate opportunities for Jewish 30s to think differently and challenge themselves more in connecting to their Judaism.

Allie: Outside of work, what are your favorite ways to relax? 

Josef: I love to cook! I’m not someone who follows recipes, I just like to open the cupboard and whip something up. I also like to explore museums, hang out with my friends, take books to the park and read. 

Allie: Describe your dream day in DC…

Josef: I recently discovered how fun the electric scooters are, and love scootering to places I’ve never been to before. My dream day would include scootering to Roosevelt Island or Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. It would also include the Potomac – I love being on the water. I would get a boat with some friends and head down to Old Town Alexandria. We would end the day with a potluck dinner on a rooftop. I love the DC skyline, especially when you can see the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral.

Allie: What is your favorite way to celebrate Shabbat?

Josef: I try to include at least one person who is new to the Shabbat experience whenever I host. I like sharing Jewish traditions and rituals with people and helping them learn about it. 

Allie: What is at the top of your bucket list? 

Josef: I want to sail the Amalfi Coast. I would love to spend a couple weeks with friends, making stops along the way to explore! 

Allie: Is there anything else you would you like to share? 

Josef: I’m openly queer identifying, and I’m excited to join the Gather staff and bring those experiences of mine to the team, and connect with others who have an LGBTQ identity in the Jewish community.

Allie: Complete the sentence! When Jews of DC gather….

Josef: …There will be several rounds of Jewish geography!            

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Let’s Work Out! (…of a gym)

Last week, I took a field trip from the GatherDC offices to the MINT Health Club. Rather than going to enjoy a mid-day workout, I was going to meet up with Sarah Hostyk, founder of a new tech startup called WorkStrive and former Jewish Tech Startup Founder of the Week. I was curious to learn more about what her brand new company has to offer DC.

Sarah’s describes WorkStrive as a combination of AirBnB, WeWork, and ClassPass. It takes local gyms and fitness studios that are often empty during peak work times, and transforms them into a shared workspace for remote workers. Better yet, when Excel is driving you crazy or you’ve been staring at your inbox for one too many hours, you can spend an hour rejuvenating your mind – and body – with a fitness class or use of the gym facility that you’re in.

Rose: Tell me a little about yourself and how WorkStrive came to be.

Sarah: I’ve wanted to create a startup since I was a little kid, and even won a few elevator pitch competitions as a teenager and in college. My first job was working remotely for a startup near Tel Aviv working to launch their first mobile app in the US. I was living in a new city and all of my coworkers were in Israel.

When I moved to DC, I launched my first startup called PlaceTempo, which matches students and remote workers with the best places to study based on their needs.

While I was trying to launch PlaceTempo, I would go door-to-door trying to get businesses to offer deals for the app. Walking around DC, I’d pass by beautiful and empty gyms and had a lightbulb moment that led me to come up with WorkStrive.       

Rose: What’s your elevator pitch for WorkStrive?

Sarah: Its a network of gyms and yoga studios that have unutilized space during the work day and turns them into furnished co-working spaces. You get to work and workout without any extra cost or transportation. It costs $36 per day – about the price of a one-hour spin class. Eventually, I’m going to roll out a monthly membership. 

In addition to offering an affordable alternative for remote workers, WorkStrive helps business at smaller gyms and helps with the loneliness that many remote workers experience.      

Rose: When did you start this company? 

Sarah: I started working on it in January 2019 and I just launched it this month.

Rose: What is your favorite part of working in an environment like this?

Sarah: The space – its colorful, and the studio is calm and serene.

Rose: Where do you see this company going in the future?

Sarah: Right now we have four locations in DC, and I’ll be opening other locations around the DMV by early fall. We’ll be having monthly memberships and other workshops that incorporate both wellness and working. In the future, I’d like to expand all over the world. The sky’s the limit!  

workstrive

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Jessica: Jewish Nurse of the Week!

When she’s not slaying it as a pediatric oncology research nurse, this outdoor lover might be found reading on a kayak, playing volleyball, or planning her dream trip to Iceland. Get to know Jessica Nooriel!

 

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Jessica: I’m pretty extroverted, so I wanted to live in a big city where there are lots of people and things happening. I’m also from Atlanta and am a southern girl at heart, so I didn’t want to go too far north. I decided to apply to jobs in DC, and got a great offer as a clinical, pediatric oncology research nurse at NIH. It worked out well! 

Allie: What are the biggest differences between DC and Atlanta? 

Jessica: Weather! It gets cold here (maybe not this week…). There is also a lot more going on in DC. In Atlanta, I lived in a nice, quiet, suburb which I loved. But here, it’s very happening, and political, and people all seem so smart and passionate.

Allie: What led you to a career in nursing?

Jessica: Science has always been a big topic of interest for me. I am fascinated by the science of healing, and love how nurses look at patients holistically. Seeing patients from a biological, sociological, and psychological perspective can give us a lot of insight. 

In the future, I’d like to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner so I can be involved in making the big decisions.

Allie: Describe your dream DC day.

Jessica: I’m an outdoorsy person, so my day would start with a morning hike. Then, I’d get lunch somewhere outside – maybe go to a brewery. After that, I would go kayaking or paddle-boarding. I’ve never lived near a body of water, so that is still new and exciting for me. I have a kayaking season pass for the summer at the Potomac. Then, I would go on a private tour of the White House and the monuments.

Allie: What is at the top of your bucket list? 

Jessica: Skydiving, but in a different country. I’d also love to go to Iceland, I’ve heard it’s the type of country you can just camp the entire time, and that the food and sights are amazing. 

Allie: What are your go-to ways to relax?

Jessica: Boating and reading. I read a lot. I’m about to finish Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I’m also interested in Holocaust books. Two of my favorites are Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl and The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult.

Allie: What is your favorite Jewish holiday?

Jessica: Passover, because my family always gets together as a big group. I love long meals and being around people. And I also love matzah, especially matzah pizza! And I enjoy anticipating that the holiday is coming with all of the cleaning and the preparation. 

Allie: Is there something that people would be surprised to know about you?

Jessica: Yes! Even though I’m super short, I play volleyball. I played competitively in high school and intramural in college. My position is setter. I can’t join a DC league because of my schedule, but I would love to get a pick-up game started. 

Allie: Complete the sentence: when Jews of DC gather…

Jessica: …They have a good time.

jessica

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

DC High Holiday Guide 2019

DC is low-key the best place to celebrate the High Holidays as a young professional.

See list below for evidence.

So, whether you’re looking for a Jewish New Year writing workshop, a Reform Rosh Hashanah service at a synagogue, a Yom Kippur conversation with Justice Kagan, or anything in between – this list has it.

Here’s how to use it…

  1. Explore the list of events below. This list will be updated regularly, so check back often.
  2. Email us info@gatherdc.org if you’re not sure which event is right for you, don’t see anything you like, and/or want a friendly face to go with.
  3. Add any High Holiday events for Jewish 20s/30s across the DMV that you know, but don’t see listed.
  4. If you need a ticket for a service, but it’s sold out OR if you bought a ticket and no longer need it – use our High Holiday Ticket Exchange!
  5. Looking for discounted or even free services? EntryPointDC has reduced ticket rates for young professionals for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Meryl

High Holiday Prep

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Rosh Hashanah

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Yom Kippur

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Sukkot

  • October 14th

  • October 15th

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Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah

  • October 21st

  • October 22nd

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High Holiday Inspiration

 

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For questions or assistance, email info@gatherdc.org. GatherDC welcomes the participation of interfaith ​individuals, and people of all abilities, backgrounds, gender identities and sexual orientations. GatherDC ​fosters inclusive communities​​​ and strive​s​ to accommodate all needs whenever possible. If you require special accommodations, please contact us​ in advance of the event​ at (202) 656-0743, and we will make every effort to meet your needs.

Meet Allen: Jewish Real Estate Guru of the Week!

 

Temporary Matt Corrado Mural at the Carnegie Library

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Allen: I went to school at The University of Maryland and was offered a job with a real estate developer doing an enormous mixed-use, multi-phase development project in Montgomery County. It was exciting, so I stuck around.

Allie: Do you still work in real estate?

Allen:  Yes! I had spent years working with restaurants on their design, construction and real estate expansions all over the east coast and have since started a company, Concept Lab CRE, which focuses on real estate, design and analytics consulting, primarily for restaurants, retail businesses and small multi-family projects.  

There are a lot of businesses that have great concepts, but need help developing processes to grow and evolve efficiently. I am always excited to talk to business owners interested in growth or addressing issues affecting their businesses.

Allie: Outside of work, I hear you’re also involved with Bridge To Health. Tell me about that.

Allen: Bridge To Health USA is a charity that provides sustainable healthcare to underprivileged communities in the US and around the world. I really wanted to be involved with a non-denominational, results-focused organization, and I’m a founding board member of BTH USA and serve as our Director of Fundraising and Development. We are setting up programs in Peru and Ohio and having worked in countries like Kenya and Uganda in the past.

We’re actually holding an event on September 26th at Prather’s on the Alley and we still looking for corporate partnerships, so if our mission resonates with you – reach out to me.

Rosenthal Vineyard, Malibu, CA

Allie: Wow! You must stay pretty busy.  What is the number one superpower you wish you could have?

Allen: I definitely try to stay active. If I could have a superpower it would be the ability to slow down time.  By the time the week starts it’s so packed with work and activities I always feel like I need more time in my day! I feel like you can never spend too much time with the people that you love and sometimes you just want time to stand still so you can really savor those moments.

Allie: If you could have a totally free day in DC, what would you do?

Allen:  I’d start out grabbing an espresso at Kafe Leopold in Cady’s Alley. They have a courtyard terrace where you can sit outside and relax listening to their fountain, you might as well be in Europe. From there I’d go to The Phillips Collection and sit in the Rothko Room for 15 minutes before biking the Mount Vernon trail – I try to do a 40 mile ride every other day. Then, I’d pick up lunch and go to The Graham Rooftop in the afternoon, which has one of my favorite views in the city and is probably my favorite place to throw parties during the day.  

After that, it’s dinnertime. Making dinner plans is one of my favorite things to do so I’d probably have made a reservation somewhere; favorites include Spoken English, Maydan and Kinship. Anyone who’s been out to dinner with me knows I’m also a big fan of the legendary tea menu and apple pie at Blue Duck Tavern for afterwards, and then drinks would continue after that.

Dinner and drinks with Friends at Bourbon, best fries in town included

Allie: What is something that people might be surprised to know about you?

Allen: I’m a huge post-war modern art fan, particularly hard edge pairings and minimal art from artists like Flavin, Kelly, Stella, Serra, Yves Kline, and Rothko. I’ve always been fascinated by beautiful architecture, design, and art, and it’s amazing showing up to the Hirshhorn or National Gallery of Art and seeing some of the most impressive works in the world. Big fan of The Whitney in NYC and The Broad In LA as well.  

Allie: Do you do art yourself?

Allen: I used to work on mixed-media pieces. I did some painting, worked with paper, and cut-out work. I also collect DC street art, but I really should be doing more of it. It’s funny you ask that actually, I was just speaking with a friend and DC street artist this weekend, we are going to work on a piece together.  

Allie: What’s at the top of your travel bucket list?

Allen: I really love the water, especially shallow reefs, so most of the travel items on my list involve the ocean. I’ve always wanted to dive the Maldives or the Great Blue Hole in Belize. They are supposedly some of the most beautiful reefs in the world, and great beaches to relax on afterwards. Also, I’m a huge fan of Japanese culture, architecture, and food, so I’d love to spend time there as well.

allen

Swimming at Caneel Bay, St. John

Allie: Which 3 people would you invite to Shabbat?

Allen: I’m not much of a small group person, so let’s call it a party and invite a bunch of people: I’d invite Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn, Hilton Founder Conrad Hilton, Actress and Honest Company Founder Jessica Alba, Real Estate Developer Donald Bren, Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat, Danish Architect Bjarke Ingels, and have Off-While Founder Virgil Abloh spinning records. 

Definitely a fun night.

Allie: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?

Allen: A tie between Passover and Hanukkah. Passover because I love drinking around the table with my cousins and friends we invite over. And Hanukkah because I enjoy thinking of very personal, specific gifts to give to people.

Allie: Complete the sentence: when Jews of DC gather…

Allen: We make fun of everything and everyone.

 

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.